February 26, 2016

Yes, another final fantasy 8 post. I cut this off from the previous installment and I have to use it because there is one joke in it that I like at all.

I wanted to get into the game’s story a bit. Because I already wrote all this, so it would logically follow that this is what I want. In fact the story is really grim: it is about a bunch of kids at school being trained to kill kids from another school. You don’t realize they’re kids because they look to be in their 30s, except for Quistis who looks closer to 40, but the instruction manual insists all are 17 and 18 years old. Quistis just looks old because, as I indicated last time, she is possessed by a 30,000 year old malevolent hate spirit and I suppose she is holding up rather well, overall.

The heroes soon get assigned to kill the president of Galbadia, the nation/city/tiny isolated village on a huge empty world map that the other school is from. But then that school forgives them when the president teams up with the evil sorceress Edea, so then the kids try to kill the sorceress. They fail and somehow end up fighting against the school that forgave them earlier anyway*.

Then the sorceress Edea forgives them because they are all orphans and she was actually their muppet-baby-like nanny from years ago, and actually married to the principal Cid of the school that trained them, whose original purpose was to train kids to kill Edea who Cid is married to. The real enemy is actually Rinoa, the hero’s love interest, who is, after Edea (the orphanage sorceress), next in line to inherit evil from a different sorceress, Ultimecia, from the future, who wishes to be reborn in the past and therefore present. So then everybody goes to the future to kill Ultimecia, including Rinoa, her reborn self from the past, who has become more powerful but resisted becoming evil, but not Edea, the first sorceress, who is also not evil but doesn’t seem any worse for having received enough power that her husband started an army with which to kill her and therefore useful to have on your own side in a fight. And then I wonder why not let the evil sorceress give evil power to everybody since they seem to shake off the evil without losing the power fairly consistently and within a short time frame. By the way when I said the story was grim I meant uncomfortably ridiculous.

And you have a hard time wearing a complete sweater. We all have deficits to work on.

One of the secondary heroes, Irvine, is from the Galbadia school and the only cowboy in the world, complete with a big stupid hat and riding chaps, which typically goes unmentioned because in addition to lacking other cowboys, the world also lacks both horses to ride and cattle to herd. There are chocobos, strange large yellow birds, but you only ever see Squall riding one and his regular leather pants seem sufficient. Also, from my recollection, despite taking approximately forever and being out of character with everything else in the game, completing the side-quest that gives you access to the chocobo doesn’t actually confer any manner of benefit, since there is no place for the bird to go apart from places that your space ship can already land next to, and you need the space ship to find the bird.

Irvine, despite being from the other school, doesn’t seem bothered massacring his former, conveniently-anonymous helmeted comrades. Which I could also tie into Star Wars 7 but hopefully I won’t because by now that movie is two months old and nobody is going to care. Though it must be said that Finnegan only switched sides in the first place after he saw his chum get shot by the guy he later broke out of prison.

Irvine is the love interest of Selphie, who dresses for the complete opposite weather that Irvine does. Also, even though in 1999 nobody said “selfie” to refer to uninteresting photographs of yourself, Selphie in the game is still adequately annoying. I don’t feel like getting a picture of selphie! I don’t need a picture of everything I describe! And I’m telling me that, not you! Although sometimes I call me “you.”

This is the world map. Notice that there are only about 15 land marks on it, which are the only points you can engage with. And that is fine; you can’t expect to go everywhere in the world. What is annoying is that the game makes not the slightest effort to imply there is more to the world than the places you can enter. Of course having a superficially place-filled world that you could not go anywhere in would also be annoying but that only feels bad on my side. This here looks bad on their side. The two southern land-masses seem to have one destination between them.

Late in the game you come to esthar, which looks like this. And it’s great. In the context of a first generation low resolution playstation role playing game it is great, I mean. You have to travel on the highway a while before magically switching to the “inside the city” view. You can see neighborhoods and roads beneath the highway. You feel like there’s stuff going on. That’s exactly what the other cities should do.

Although even this abruptly ENDS at nothing instead of tapering off into less densely populated areas.

And earlier Irvine claims to have searched the entire continent looking for the city while his associates take a Gogurt break (on railroad tracks). The city is holographically hidden from view, but the game text outright states that there is nothing in existence that you cannot see from the world map, and that the speed you move on the world map is not artistic license to keep it from taking weeks to walk from town to town. Gosh that’s the third thing I hated about Earthbound. It’s supposed to be so modern and hip and with it but only the main characters have houses and only one town has a school and I didn’t actually finish it because I only rented it once and didn’t care much and thought it was ugly anyhow.

Also apparently it has the world’s biggest game box and costs twice as much as the next most expensive cartridge on the secondary market, if you are insane enough that you think playing a console rpg on native hardware without speed acceleration when you don’t have to isn’t the world’s biggest empty time-sink and worth spending extra money and living space for the privilege of and also on tracking down a 24 year old super Nintendo system that still works AND the last remaining gamepads that nobody ever stepped on. As if this is more honorable to the Nintendo company in some way than emulating the game, even though it isn’t because Nintendo doesn’t get a cut of resales and has re-released numerous games like this one as pay downloads that it gets FULL proceeds from, that are a fraction of what the games cost new in the 1990s, which was a fraction of what resellers are sometimes charging for them old in the 2010s. Hooray for a hipsterism based economy! We honor the cutting edge technology of our youth by treating it like the antiques of our grandparents’ youth! We honor the advancements that astounded us in the past by treating improvements on them with the obstinate backwardism of an author who takes it as a point of pride to still use a typewriter!

I know somebody who criticizes me over my use of the commercial applications photoshop and fl-studio for artwork and music when there are free alternatives with ostensibly the same capabilities. But the commercial software does what I need in efficient, non-backward ways that I already understand, and typically have larger existing support bases. I know people who can explain to me how to use that stuff. I pay extra for convenience. You don’t buy a super nintendo game on a cartridge in 2015 for convenience. A typewriter is superficially more efficient than a computer to somebody accustomed to typewriters, but a typewriter does not have the same capabilities.

And then six paragraphs about how much I hate Fisherman’s Horizon, Shumi Village and Trabia, the most boring and endless mopey, exposition-only areas in any video game, and the stupid boring card game that for whatever reason needs to be played the most in the most boring areas of the main game. I need convenience NOW to make up for all the time I wasted on THIS kind of stupid garbage back when I had time. And I need even more convenience because I wrote all those paragraphs and will never use them.

That’s no way to talk to somebody who has it all figured out!
(I put the paragraphs here)

11 Responses
  1. 1
    7:10 pm, February 26, 2016

    Frimpinheap sez:

    Fujin, Seifer and Raijin are secondary antagonists and would be a perfect group to have your own 3-person group go up against. So the game makes sure this never happens.

    Fisherman’s Horizon is the worst place in the whole game, and you spend HOURS there. You have to run from one end to the other multiple times. And if you try to do the dumb side-quests, which you shouldn’t, you’ll be doing it even more, and having to reset the game if you mess up and run between all the scenes again.

    Which already takes too long without the slow playstation loading times. And the loading times are accurately emulated in the program I got these screenshots from.

    The Shumi village is just as boring and tedious as Fisherman’s Horizon, but I consider it an improvement since going there is optional. But did I go there both times I played through the game? I did. It SHOULD be more interesting since it is populated by monster people and underground. But they are just too boring.

    Also it must be noted that a boring resident of Fisherman’s Horizon considers the Shumi Village the only place boring enough to relocate to. And in this picture apparently wants to play “Triple Triad.” Triple Triad is a boring card game where your goal is to capture your opponent’s cards, and whoever has more points gets to keep one of the opponent’s five played cards. And you want to acquire these cards because… then you can use them to win the card game more easily and get more cards. Sounds fun, wrong? And this guy wants to use Trabia’s rules. Trabia has the WORST rule: the random rule.You don’t get to choose which cards that you own get put into your hand. And if you are obsessive compulsively collecting all cards, you’ll have a huge reserve of terrible generic cards, and likely multiple copies of each, and you’ll have to use those. You’ll be lucky to get one good unique card, which means you’ll LOSE and your opponent will take your one unique card, and you’ll have to reset the and reload and wait wait wait and run through six scenes and wait on the elevator and so that you don’t have to win back your own card AND the one you were trying to get to begin with. And you know they have a special card because you challenged every person in Final Fantasyland to multiple card games to see if they have one. Or you cheat and look online.

    I hate stupid Trabia. Trabia has the most mopey music after Fisherman’s Horizon, AND the random rule. There is nothing good about either of those places. I’m glad Trabia blew up. The people in video games aren’t real, and there is no direct evidence that they lived before they got blown up. If I was going to feel bad for them, I would feel bad that they don’t have the option of refusing the player’s sick demand to play the dumb card game, or the ability to reset the non-card game when the one interesting thing in their life is taken away. They probably WANT to get blown up.

    And I want to get blown up when I am going to the most boring parts of the game to play a different game that is even more boring.

  2. 2
    12:23 pm, February 28, 2016

    chesse20 sez:

    Does the game require playing the card game to continue the plot, if so that’s an epic fail

  3. 3
    12:33 pm, February 28, 2016

    Frimpinheap sez:

    It does not! There is NO reason to ever play the card game other than to appease initial curiosity about it.

  4. 4
    11:16 am, February 29, 2016

    Indighost sez:

    I am so happy that you now play three dimensional RPGs :D

  5. 5
    11:59 am, February 29, 2016

    Frimpinheap sez:

    I think I explained better in the first part, but this is the one series I kept up with a while after it switched to 3d, since generally it was the change in control and constant change in perspective that I had an aversion to in action games. I never liked mid-1990s polygon graphics but I could theoretically tolerate them so long as the actual game portion was bearable.

    NOW I do not have time for rpg games at all!

  6. 6
    3:13 pm, February 29, 2016

    Indighost sez:

    Final Fantasy 8 I would say is a really really bad RPG. I agree with all your criticisms and above all that the characters are stupid and the player has very little control or customization.

    There are so many really really good ones released since the time of the single-digit FFs that you could really criticize in detail…

  7. 7
    5:50 pm, February 29, 2016

    Frimpinheap sez:

    You will have to be more specific than that! in that general genre, post Super NES, I have played
    Lunar Silver Star Story Sandwich Supreme Complete
    Lunar 2
    Breath of Fire 3
    Vagrant Story
    Legend of Mana
    Alundra 2
    Legend of Dragoon (mentioned in the first post)
    plus Quest 64 on Nintendo 64.

    Apart from Breath of Fire 3 (which I never finished) I still think Final Fantasy 8 works better than any of those. The missed potential put me off foremost. I do intend to look into Shining Force 3 once I feel up to figuring out how to even go about that. I also understand that the first Alundra is vastly superior to the second, though surely some people said FF8 was that compared to 7 just based on the graphics.

  8. 8
    4:26 pm, March 1, 2016

    Purplespace sez:

    I would say doing a quest to gain a bird is the best type of quest! I enjoyed playing through Chrono Cross, although when you finally realize what the overarching plot is, then it seems equally as silly as FF8. It probably would have been better had they acknowledged the previous game existed, but not try to tie into it.

    Most of the game has you do interesting things that seem unrelated to the big hidden plot, or even the previous Chrono Trigger game except for familiar names and people who are reported to have had dealings with characters and places from the previous game. When the big reveal happens, it does tie the game back to the previous game, but it really seems tacked on because the game’s events feel like they were leading up to something different and more interesting that never really happens.

  9. 9
    5:58 pm, March 1, 2016

    Frimpinheap sez:

    I knew somebody else who played it and thought it wasted its connection to the first game. I think he said it is revealed that Dalton killed Crono and that’s all there is to that story (And don’t tell me if that is right or wrong). Maybe the surprise is supposed to be that Crono didn’t magically come back to life again.

    I wonder if it was conceived as a mostly unrelated game, in the Final Fantasy tradition, and at some late point was forced to seem like a direct follow up sequel.

  10. 10
    11:50 am, March 3, 2016

    Purplespace sez:

    I thought it was a sequel in the sense that you were going between your world and a parallel universe of your world, much the same way you were traveling between time periods in the previous game. The new game system allowed them to add more detail to the world, so they put in name references to places in the previous game and tell you this is an area closer to the equator from where you were in the first game, making it more tropical. But, later they decide to tie the story more directly to the first game even though it could mostly have been left out without really changing anything.

  11. 11
    12:55 am, May 16, 2016

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them`s fightin` woids: May 1, 2021
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